Time and Money: Using Federal Data to Measure the Value of Performing Arts Activities

Research Note #102

This report examines the monetary and non-monetary value of the performing arts based on a number of different American data sources, including the U.S. Economic Census, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among the report's key findings:

  • There are nearly 8,840 performing arts organizations in the United States (with at least one person on payroll). Collectively, these organizations had annual revenues of almost $13.6 billion and over 125,000 paid workers in 2007. These statistics include both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Americans spent $14.5 billion on performing arts admissions in 2009, compared with spending of $33.8 billion on books, $20.7 billion on sports, $10.4 billion on movie tickets, $6 billion on admissions to museums and libraries, $5.6 billion on musical instruments, and $3.9 billion on photographic equipment.
  • "On any given day, 1.5 million Americans attend arts performances, usually with family or friends."

The report provides a breakdown of the revenue statistics for performing arts organizations. In 2007, for-profit performing arts companies had $8.0 billion in revenues and nearly 54,000 paid workers. Not-for-profit organizations had $5.6 billion in revenues and nearly 74,000 paid workers. Almost one-half of not-for-profit performing arts organizations (46%) had annual revenues below $250,000. On average, American not-for-profit performing arts organizations earned 46% of their total revenues, generated 37% from private sources, obtained 4% from government sources, and generated 13% in other income in 2007.

The report also provides a few time-use statistics that are not related to the performing arts. For example, "about 2.6 million Americans do arts and crafts activities on any given day". Similarly, on a given day, 557,000 people write for personal interest, and 532,000 visit a museum. In comparison, about 3.4 million Americans go to a movie and 2.7 million attend a sporting event on any given day.

Summary: 

This report examines the monetary and non-monetary value of the performing arts based on a number of different American data sources. The report finds that there are nearly 8,840 performing arts organizations in the United States (with at least one person on payroll). Collectively, these organizations had annual revenues of almost $13.6 billion and over 125,000 paid workers in 2007. Americans spent $14.5 billion on performing arts admissions in 2009. "On any given day, 1.5 million Americans attend arts performances, usually with family or friends."

Legacy ID (artUID): 
50720